by Lucie Roy
Morinville News Correspondent
Monique Lavallee is a strong francophone youth advocate and volunteer. Her latest award was the prestigious Pierre Bergeron of Excellence Award for Youth Service presented to her at the Annual Congress of the Alberta’s Francophone community Gala which took place in October in Edmonton. The award was presented in recognition of her contribution in the youth field and for having contributed significantly to the development of the francophone community in Alberta.
Lavallee said she was honoured to receive the award. “L’Acadie, my francophone, now my Alberta, my joy of living each day in full in a language that is mine, the French language,” she said. “It is a gift and a heritage received from my ancestors.”
It is something she likes to share.
Lavallee’s parents, Raymond and Cecile Mallet, had a large family. She is from a small town called Bathurst, NB and she grew up in a family of eight children. She has six brothers and one sister.
The path that brought her to who she is today is a result of her parent’s love of life, youth, and community. Lavallee was very young when she developed a passion for sports. At the age of 18, she was the youngest director of the aquatic program in Canada and had her own radio and television broadcast on aquatic activities.
Lavallee met her husband Charles in New Brunswick when he attended an Oilers Farm team as equipment manager. In 1995 she moved to Alberta with her husband Charles, and they have been established in Morinville for over twenty years.
Lavallee has distinguished herself by valuing the participation of French-speaking youth in sports, specifically thanks to her commitment as a volunteer at the Jeux Francophone de l’Alberta (JFA).
In addition to the promotion of the Francophone Games in Alberta she was their Chef de Mission for 12 years, being strongly influenced by the dynamism, and going beyond her initial role, listening to young athletes and coaches so that the ability to solve difficulties at events quickly made her an outstanding volunteer. She also helped with the logistics for the Games of the Canadian Francophonie (JFC) in 2008. She was the Ambassador of the Canadian Team at the 8th World Cup in Athletics held in Edmonton in 2001.
Lavallee has been a long-time volunteer and was the ACFA Team Leader for Zone 4- Centralta, the largest Zone in the province, encompassing 17 communities.
Lavallee has received numerous awards and some more than once. She received the Alberta Francophone Sport Ambassador award during the Federation of Francophone Alberta Sport (SSAB) General Annual meeting held at Cite Francophone in Edmonton in 2014.
In order to provide an equal opportunity to all young people wishing to participate in the Games, she organized fundraisers and processed requests for grants for the many numerous families who would otherwise be unable to partake due to financial restraints. This work strengthened the sense of belonging and inclusion among young Francophones in Alberta. Lavallee is a great advocate of participation in sports which she said contributes to the physical development and self-esteem of the young person and makes it possible to forge links while having fun.
Lavallee is thankful to her husband Charles and their children Janelle, Louis and Benoit for supporting her over the years in her dedication to young Francophones and Francophiles in the field of sports and in the community. With their support, Lavallee has been able to give without conditions incredible hours of volunteerism and devotion to the youth.
Being a volunteer with the Alberta Francophone Games and the Alberta Scouts and Guides gave her this opportunity.
Lavallee is proud that the Alberta Francophone Games and Francophone organizations have opened the doors to young people to have fun in French.
“Being a volunteer in the community is a gift of oneself that nobody can put in monetary amount,” Lavallee said. “Just like a smile this does not cost but warms the heart.” Lavallee life motto is ‘We are only passing through this earth, so live your life to the fullest, share your love of what holds your heart and be proud of who you are and start your day with a smile.’
Lavallee has been working for the Conseil Scolaire Centre-Nord School Board for ten years and has been secretary for the Alexandre-Tache school since it opened in 2009.
Her two sons Benoit and Louis are both MCHS graduates and the family has long been active in and out of the community.
Her husband Charles has served more than 28 years with the Morinville Fire Department and is the Training Officer. One of their sons also serves on the Fire Department.